No culinary experience in Morroco, especially Chef Joanne Weir’s Culinary Journey, would be complete with a trip to the Marrakech medina. It’s there that the freshest, most colorful foods are piled high for what is truly a feast for the eyes. And once you get home, the makings of a feast for all!
It begins outside where donkeys and carts of all shapes and sizes bring in the goods. Everything from spices to herbs to fresh-picked fruits make their way over cobblestone plazas to the open markets or through winding alleyways to markets inside.
Spices become art forms as conical shapes in colors of the Mediterranean stand tall awaiting shoppers looking for such delicacies as cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon.
Herbs aren’t packaged in plastic, as we may see in the U. S. They’re more likely to be found in armloads — thick, green, and aromatic.
Ready for purchase during Ramadan (May 17 to June 14, 2018) are sweet treats for the season. Of course, those who fast wait until evening to dive into these goodies.
Going to the medina with Chef Joanne Weir meant frequenting her favorite places. Like this booth filled with preserved lemons, onions, and olives of various shapes, colors and sizes literally overflowing their massive bowls.
And if we had needed eggs, we could have bought them . . . with the chickens as well.
Rich brown dates begged to be touched — so we bought some and ate them while we walked!
If you live in the medina, you can bake your homemade bread in community ovens. (Look closely to see the baker hard at work inside this one pulling out round flatbreads brought to him by residents.)
Our culinary group counted ourselves lucky to catch this in action: young men spinning werqa dough (similar to phyllo) used in making pastilla, a meat pie usually filled with pigeon and apricots and topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon. (But I have to say that the chicken version we cooked later in the week ranked right up there with one of my favorite dishes of Morocco.)
Every turn in the medina market offered a different glimpse into Moroccan culture and cuisine. How grateful I was for the opportunity to shop for fresh goods in a truly remarkable place: the Marrakech medina!
— Rusha Sams
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And to see more posts on this exotic, fascinating country, click on Marvelous Morocco.